Aussies' lead nears 500 at stumps

Australia

Three days of cricket is done and dusted and as was the case on the first two, Australia continued to dominate proceedings in their opening Test against the Proteas in Centurion.

Three days of cricket is done and dusted and as was the case on the first two, Australia continued to dominate proceedings in their opening Test against the Proteas in Centurion.

At stumps the visiting side were sitting pretty at 288 for three with a healthy lead of 479 runs. First innings centurion Shaun Marsh will start day four unbeaten on 44 along with skipper Michael Clarke, who has 17 to his name.

What has kept the Proteas out of this contest is that they were only able to be good in patches while their opponents showed the consistency one would expect from the top ranked side in world cricket.

Poor fielding – which included three drop catches – didn't help the South African side's cause either and it allowed Australia to take a rather relaxed approach throughout their second innings.

The day started with Mitchell Johnson cleaning-up the South African tail in a phenomenal display that saw him return figures of seven for 68.

With Nathan Lyon (two for 33) keeping his end clean, the home side was eventually dismissed for 206 in reply to the 397 the Aussies set in their first innings.

Proteas keeper AB de Villiers scored 91 of his team's runs and was the only batsman who took the battle to the lightning fast Johnson.

At the change of innings the initial onslaught by the Proteas proved promising as Steyn removed Chris Rogers for just one run with the first ball of his spell.

The optimism was short-lived though, after David Warner (115) and Alex Doolan (89) frustrated the South African attack with a second wicket partnership which was only broken 45 overs and 205 runs later.

Warner was put down on 26, 27 and 52 as he proceeded to score his first ton on tour. The first was a relative sitter to Dean Elgar, while Alviro and Graeme Smith dropped him in the slips, though they were tough chances.

From a tactical point of view, it is interesting to note that the Proteas never used Steyn and fellow paceman Morkel in tandem.

While batting was always going to be easier on the third day, the standard of bowling by the home side was shocking to say the least.

With matters as they are, a draw would be a brilliant result for Smith's men while Clarke will undoubtedly be targeting the one-nil advantage in the three match series

<b>Michael Mentz at Centurion</b>

Latest